A global telecommunications company providing a broad range of services to companies in more than 168 countries, Orange Business Services, like many organizations, was forced to do more with less over the last few years. As a result, finding the right tools to help keep its vast systems infrastructure running smoothly is strategically important to Orange. To help consolidate management functions previously performed by a number of tools, Orange uses WysDM for Backups from WysDM Software.
With 800 business customers across the globe producing terabytes of data each day, data backup is mission-critical for Orange.
“One of our toughest challenges is to get an overview of our global infrastructure, especially since we were forced to decrease staff,” said Doug Bovie, head of Infrastructure Management at Orange, based in Frankfurt, Germany. “In particular, we didn’t have a huge team monitoring storage.”
Today, through systems consolidation and the use of WysDM for Backups, Orange has taken its infrastructure for backups from a 75 to 80 percent success rate to 99.67 percent, according to Bovie.
“We’ve come full circle with WysDM,” he said. Not only does the company utilize the backup product for monitoring, reporting and predictive analysis, but also uses it for alerts.
WysDM for Backups gives companies visibility to understand large, complex environments by obtaining data from major components of the backup environment, such as tape drives, network interfaces, operating systems and backup software, and providing an extensive set of reports, according to the vendor.
Growth Demands New Tools
Orange’s storage architecture is vast. The company has 2 petabytes of usable online storage, 35 NetApp storage devices, including 960s, 980s and 3000 series models, and the company will soon be implementing 6000 series appliances, and a total of 16 EMC DMX-3 and DMX-4 storage arrays.
The telecommunications company utilizes its NetApp appliances primarily for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and NFS shares. The company has about 100,000 Exchange e-mail boxes running on the NetApp devices. Oracle, SAP and other internally-developed application data sit on the EMC hardware.
“We like to give customers multiple tiers of storage, from high-end Fibre Channel to middle tiers on NetApp,” said Bovie.
Orange has 10,000 employees across 168 countries. In the past few years, the company consolidated about 20 data centers to thirteen, but it recently built an additional two data centers and expects to open a third new data center in 2008 to cope with customer growth.
Prior to partnering with WysDM, IT staff would log onto each system around the world to check for errors and log into NetApp storage files for quotas, volumes and snapshot utilization. “It was a daily task for our backup and storage teams,” said Bovie.
Ultimately, Orange had to look at the employee hours spent monitoring the systems and creating reports for its customers. “It would be impossible to do now what we were doing manually just a few years ago,” he said.
So Orange went looking for a product to help manage its data storage infrastructure.
Manager of Managers
Already a user of multiple management tools from a variety of vendors — Brocade, Cisco, EMC and NetApp — WysDM acts like a manager of managers for Orange. “We still use many tools and haven’t replaced them with WysDM,” said Bovie. “Instead, WysDM for Backups is the only tool we now use for monitoring, reporting and alerts.”
According to Bovie, WysDM for Backups integrates and talks to existing tools in Orange’s infrastructure, consolidates data, creates reports and sends alerts.
One of the top criteria for finding a solution partner was that the vendor work closely with Orange and have a vision as technology and requirements change.
Orange purchased its initial product a couple of years ago. The initial version had support for both NetApp and Brocade. “We’ve done upgrades since then, adding features that aren’t available to the public yet,” said Bovie.
Today, WysDM for Backups provides Orange with an overview of its entire infrastructure, capacity management, proactive monitoring, predictive analysis and alerting. Bovie’s team has also pushed the alerting capability of the WysDM tool onto another alerting tool from BMC that is used by the company’s Level 1 monitoring teams.
The customer reporting capability is used extensively by Orange for trending and predictive analysis and alerts. According to Bovie, the product offers a few hundred different types of reports out of the box, with individual customer logos. Users can also create custom reports, which Orange did.
“We also offer our customers before and after snapshots of performance and throughput,” he said. Orange keeps about one year’s worth of customer data online on a single machine.
Given how quickly technology changes, Bovie stays in constant contact with WysDM engineers. “When we start a proof of concept project, we tell WysDM and ask them what they can give us for data,” he said. “While not every device is supported by their backup product, devices from top vendors are, and they’re very flexible working with us.”